May 11, 2016

2539 CANADA (Nova Scotia) - Humpback Whales

The humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is one of the larger rorqual species, adults range in length from 12-16m and weigh about 36,000kg. It has a distinctive body shape, with long pectoral fins and a knobbly head. Founds in oceans and seas around the world, humpback whale typically migrate up to 25,000 km each year. It feeds only in summer, in polar waters, and migrate to tropical or subtropical waters to breed and give birth in the winter when they fast and live off their fat reserves.

Their diet consists mostly of krill and small fish. Like other large whales, the humpback was a target for the whaling industry. Once hunted to the brink of extinction, its population fell by an estimated 90% before a 1966 moratorium. While stocks have partially recovered, entanglement in fishing gear, collisions with ships, and noise pollution continue to impact the population of 80,000. The varying patterns on the tail flukes are sufficient to identify individuals.

It is known for breaching and other distinctive surface behaviors, making it popular with whale watchers. Males produce a complex song lasting 10 to 20 minutes, which they repeat for hours at a time. Its purpose is not clear, though it may have a role in mating. Some individuals, referred to as "friendlies", approach whale-watching boats closely, often staying under or near the boat for many minutes. The Bay of Fundy and Northern Cape Breton in Nova Scotia are great spots for watching them in summer.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of the series Baby Wildlife 2014, about which I wrote here.
Whale Watching Season in Nova Scotia - Your Nova Scotia Holiday

Humpback Whale - Wikipedia

Sender: Leonard Clarke
sent from Halifax (Nova Scotia / Canada), on 22.06.2012

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